I’ve often had people ask me when I was called to be an officer in The Salvation Army. Like many, I could say it happened at Youth Councils or Commissioning; it could have been through Corps Cadets or even my Junior Soldier class. But unlike many people who can pinpoint the date of their calling, I simply have to say, “I don’t know”.
I’ve been conscious of this calling since about Jr. High, but never had the “Really God, officership?” moment. In fact, I guess I’ve always had this feeling that God wanted me to serve Him full time as an officer.
I do have to say that this calling has been reinforced by the influences of my Corps family. I have had the privilege to attend the Corps with the most retired officers in the Central Territory. Many of these retired officers have played a major role in my understanding of my calling (whether they know it or not). I think of Brigadier Gunnar Erickson who, even when I was a little kid, would call me “the preacher”. I have also had great spiritual leaders like Colonels William and Eleanor Norris, Lt. Colonels Harry and Marge Smith, and Lt. Colonels Marvin and Bodil Dahl who have guided me on my spiritual walk. I’ve also had great soldiers who have mentored me like Norma Baker who instilled in me a passion for volunteerism and Barb Higgins who has shown me the joy of youth ministry.
The list could go on and on of people who have influenced my journey to officership. It is by the Christ-like example of these and many other people that I have grown to love God, to love The Salvation Army, and to dedicate my life to God’s service.
For those of you reading this, whether you’re a soldier, cadet, or officer, remember that there are young people who are watching your example – people that may be looking to you to see what this Christian life is all about. Be an example to those around you and show them what being a follower of Christ is all about. Who knows, they may become an officer because of you!